Tough Talks #4: Social Issues

One of the most difficult jobs a parent has is talking with their kids about world issues. With so many advancements in technology, teens have access to tons of information right at their fingertips, meaning they’ll usually be in the know when it comes to social issues, sometimes even before their parents. 

These types of large scale events can make teens feel all sorts of emotions, especially when they’re learning about potentially traumatic events all on their own from a variety of sources. It’s essential to talk with your teen about what’s going on, to guide them in managing their emotions, as well as teaching compassion and work through solutions together.

Encourage Open Dialogue

Finding out what your teen already knows will pave the way for a more accurate conversation. Make sure they know it’s okay, and beneficial, to ask questions. This will not only help you to gauge the best way to discuss the topic and provide the most accurate information possible, but will also help develop a trusting relationship between you and your teen. 

Talk About Where Their News Comes From

Because teens have access to so much information already, it’s important to find out where they are finding out what they know. Many teens get their news from social media, their friends, or less than trustworthy news sites, so be sure to clarify and correct any misinformation they may be receiving. They won’t be able to form a sincere opinion about an issue if they don’t have the right information to begin with. 

Ask About Their Feelings

When it comes to social issues, there are lots of opinions. As a teen, it’s difficult to form one when you’re heavily influenced by those around you. Be sure to ask what their feelings are, and if they have any thoughts about what’s going on. This is a good way to practice empathy, and ask your teen questions such as how they would feel if they were directly involved, or if they’ve ever had any personal experiences they can relate to the larger issue.

Find Common Ground

Your teen is finding their independence, and forming their own opinions. Remember that they might view things differently than you, and that’s okay. Throughout your conversation, try to find common ground, and focus on the similarities you share in terms of your viewpoints, and not the differences. This makes for a much smoother conversation for both of you.

When things happen beyond our control, it’s difficult to wrap our heads around them. This is especially true for teens, who are still developing their views, feelings, and purpose in the world. At the end of the day, teens are the generation who will make real change, so having these difficult conversations early on will be beneficial for all of us.To learn more about how Tilly’s Life Center helps teens cope with their feelings about social issues, click here: